Chapter 57 – Allies and Neighbors

Chapter 57 – Allies and Neighbors

August 4, 2004 Late afternoon – Bon Temps

At about 5 in the afternoon, Sam Merlotte showed up at the farmhouse under the ruse of delivering dinner.  It was a good thing Jason told him about all the people now staying there ahead of time.  He had enough for everyone.  Alcide was enjoying his burger and thanking Sam.  “We really appreciate this – I’m sure Gran, Potts and Michelle are enjoying a night off.  The crowd here just grows and there are many mouths to feed.”

“I’m glad I could help.  If you’ll let me, I can help more.  Actually, there are many in the town ready and willing to help.  You only need to say yes.”

“Northman needs to make the call after he hears the details.”

“Can I wait here to speak to him after sunset?”  Before Alcide could answer, the house phone rang.  Gran answered and told Sam and Alcide to go into Sookie’s room and Eric would meet him there.  “But the sun isn’t down.”

“Older vampires need less rest.  He just needs to stay unexposed.  Come on.”

“Northman.”  Sam nodded when they entered the room.

“Sam.  What’s going on?”

Sam noticed Eric’s hand immediately but chose to ignore it.  He knew from exposure to other supes that vampire fingers grew back.  “We had a community meeting at the Presbyterian Church last night.  I’ve got donors lined up to come here if needed.  Several men and women are prepared to head to Vegas and join donor pools there, or just hang at Felipe’s Casino and either gather intel or try to send messages to Sookie.  Some of the men with military background are ready to stand with you for the fight.”

Eric was stunned for a moment; then he remembered the Ancient Pythoness’ words:  Allies can be surprising and closer than you thought.  Did she mean Bon Temps?  “How did everyone know?”

“Jason talked about it to Hoyt at work, and he told his mother.  Once Mrs. Fortenberry knows something, the whole parish knows.”

Eric nodded in acknowledgement.  “As for the help?  Yes to all of it.  Pam and I need donors to heal – we have some bagged blood but with Pam and I needing so much for our injuries, that’s running low.  Besides, fresh blood is best; we’ll heal faster and everyone will be stronger.  I also have vampire guards and having donors here would prevent them from needing to leave the property.”

“What’s wrong with Pam?”

“Silver poisoning.”

“Shit.”

“Yeah, that sums it up.  Can you stay or come back for a 10PM strategy meeting?”

“I’ll stay.  It would look more suspicious if I left and returned.”

“That makes sense.  We’re being watched.  On the property though, we have privacy and ill will wards as you know.”

There was a knock on the door.  “Hey Big Dude!”

Eric smiled at hearing his little friend’s voice.  “Come in Little Dude.”  Hunter ran in and jumped into Eric’s arms.

“I brought a book in to read until the sun sets.”

“Did you finish your dinner?”  Hunter nodded.  “Well, gentlemen, it would seem that my time right now is accounted for.  I’ll meet you later.”  They nodded and left the room while Eric was situating Hunter into the bed.  “Does your father know you’re reading this?”

“Yes, Sookie talked to him about it before she left and explained that my reading level or more the storylines would be something you’d expect for an older kid.  I mean, dude, there’s not much I haven’t seen in people’s heads.”

“Well, I read this a while ago; it’ll be nice to revisit middle earth.”

Since Hunter had handed the book to Eric and he grabbed it, the stubs where his fingers were growing were obvious.  “Does it hurt?”

Seeing Hunter’s gaze directly on his hand, he knew what he meant.  Hunter’s question was genuinely caring and he felt a pang in his heart at the boy’s empathy.  “It’s like I remember a toothache or a headache feeling, it’s not bad.”

“Can you take Tylenol?  That’s what I take for headaches.”

“No, but I’m tough, I can handle it.”

“Good.  I was worried.  Well, I still am about Aunt Sookie.  They aren’t gonna do that to her are they?”

“She can’t even be touched, so nothing like this can happen at all.”  Hunter’s mood was deteriorating so he switched topics.  “Did you play with Michael today?”

“I did.  He’s younger than me though – and he wet the bed last night.  I think I’ll sleep on the floor tonight cause that was nasty this morning.”  Hunter scrunched up his face and Eric couldn’t help by laugh.  “It’s kinda tight in this house.”

“I know.  This is actually his Mother’s room for the moment.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“Well, normally I would suggest you sleep in the bigger house but you can’t go out and they can’t go out.”

“But?”

“But, I was thinking of seeing if your father would take a bedroom up the hill since he’s one of my workers and doesn’t need to remain hidden.  You could move in here since it’s further away from the bed wetter.  Besides, you’re up later than him and you sleep later.”

“But you’ve been sleeping in this bed.  You gonna stay with Pam?”

“I did last night, so that’s fine or I can share with you.  It’s not a problem if you wake up with me in the bed is it?  I mean, I won’t be breathing.”

“I don’t care.  I came that first morning you were back to check on you.  Gran said it was OK.  I wasn’t being creepy or anything, I really was just happy to know you were home.”

“That’s fine Hunter.  I’ll talk to your father after we’re done reading.  I’ll also tell you a secret.”

“What?”

“I knew you had come in.  You left little boy stink all over the place.”  To add to the humor, Eric even pinched his nose and waved a hand in front of his face like he was trying to push the smell away.  Eric kept to himself that he also smelled Hunter’s tears that day – it was just unnecessary given the lightness of the conversation they were having.

Hunter giggled and asked, “What do little boys stink like?”

“Right now:  Grilled cheese, plastic – from your legos I guess – and farts.”  Eric knew that Hunter loved fart humor – and he’d been told it was a common little boy thing so he indulged him; especially since Remy had poo-poo’d that type of talk.  Hunter just giggled wildly for a moment before settling down.  “I had grilled cheese for lunch!”

“I know, I’ve told you I have a good nose.”

“You sure do.  Let’s start the book; the sun will be down soon.  I’ll read first but you’ll have to help me lots.”

“Very well.  I do need to do some work tonight so we need to get our reading in while the sun is still up.”

He opened the book and instructed Hunter to start:  ‘Three Rings for the What’s that word?

“Elven”

“Elven-Kings under the sky . . .

At 10PM Eric was just finishing some correspondence for Norse Enterprises in his newly repaired office when Arthmael, Sam and Alcide joined him.  Alcide was carrying Pam.  “She wouldn’t stay away.”

“Pamela, healing is your most important task.”

“I’m much better – you know I am.  I was able to do some walking around the house, albeit slowly.  I only needed Alcide to carry me since this is such a long trip and uphill.  I still have a functioning brain Eric.”

“Very well.  Let me get Stan on the line.”

“Stan?”

“Hang on Eric; I have to join in a conference call that’s already started.”  Eric looked puzzled for a moment then heard a group of voices on the line.  “OK, we have just about everyone here.  Godric, Russell, Bart, Benito, Antonia, Kat and their respective pack leaders.”

Eric was stunned.  “How did you do this?  Are the calls secure?  I have equip. . .

“I purchased equipment from a telecom company that encrypts phone calls.”  Eric started to interrupt again and Stan continued.  “I know you would have assisted us Eric, but with all you’ve got going on, I just ordered the stuff from your own damn company.  I’m pretty sure we can trust it.”

He just chuckled.  “I would certainly hope so.  Let’s get down to planning.  First is the Sheriff’s ball.”

Correcting Eric, Stan offered, “First is the daemon girls.  They arrived here and are under my protection.  Desmond told them to get out of the state since they are listed as assets and known to be loyal to you and Sookie.  Felipe would have locked them up or possibly killed them to remove the risk.”

“Agreed.”

“Now we can discuss the Sheriff’s Ball.”

“Yes Stan.”

“I have been informed that the tiger will be meeting with you upon your arrival in Boston.  Don’t be alarmed.  It’s friendly.”

“How do you know this?”

“Spies in Vegas.”

“I have spies as well, but not that close to court or Quinn.  They’re currently working to find ways in.  How trustworthy is your spy?”

“He killed Felipe’s half Daemon witch to prevent him from seeing Sookie when she arrived.”

“How did he know to do that?”

“He received a visit from her Grace.”

“Ok, well I guess we can trust this spy.  And Godric, it seems that her Grace is working overtime to help us and get back on our good side.”

Russell interjected.  “Ah, hang on.  Can I ask; why can’t the daemon witch see Sookie?”

Stan was silent while Eric waited just a moment to answer.  “Daemons can see pregnancy.”

“But she lost the baby.”

“That’s what Felipe believes.  Ludwig and Amelia saved the baby.  We’ve been keeping that as quiet as possible.  Please don’t discuss it with anyone outside these calls.”

“Understood.  That is really good news Eric.”

“It is Stan.  What else from this spy?”

“We’ll talk after the planning meeting is over about some additional information.”

Eric knew it was difficult news about Sookie and he froze but only for a moment before moving on.

Russell chimed in, jarring Eric from his thoughts.  “Back to the Sheriff’s Ball:  Eric, I was informed that you were planning to be there for the main ball only, correct?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll need you to come early and stay through the night of the 16th.  I’ve already crafted business emails to legitimatize our meetings when you arrive and then again the night after the ball.  Our ruse is that we’re planning a merger between your telecom business and my computer chip business – at least as far as the emails say.  In reality, at the request of The Ancient Pythoness, I’ll be killing King Carlos and taking the New England Territory.  I’ve been assured he will be at his weakest after the ball, and he WILL do something to warrant my justified retribution.  I don’t know what that is yet though.”

“We stand with you Russell.  This is a great opportunity to get rid of his kind of monarchy.”  Antonia offered, and everyone on the call agreed.

“So after Boston, we have the Pledging in Texas.”

Stan spoke up.  “I believe we should invite Felipe and Freyda.”

“I thought we wanted to use the time planning.”

“We can still do that, if you can arrive early.”

“What’s the benefit?”

“Two possible ones:  Either they bring Sookie and then you get to see her, or they leave her giving her a break from court.  I’m having an invitation delivered to Sookie at the Palace since that’s her current location.  I’m hoping he allows her to attend and Liz has set a strict black tie and gown dress code.”

“I like it.  Now we just need to get the reason behind my early arrival.”

“Well Eric, I’d like you and Godric to be my witnesses.”

“But you weren’t having witnesses.”

“This gives you leave to arrive in Texas early – without suspicion.”

“You would change your pledging for. . .”

“Liz is THRILLED.  She wanted witnesses and I was the one who said no.  Now she gets what she wants while we get a strategic bonus.  And speaking of Liz and strategy:  Pam, Liz would like you to come early as last minute help and this would also provide a benefit for you to get here early as well.  Can you both be here 4 days ahead of time?”

Pam answered for both of them, “Eric and I would love to be part of your pledging.  The timing will be no problem as I’m sure nobody will want us to offend another monarch.  Can I call Liz to discuss?”

“She’s expecting your call.  I’ll send her number to . . . “

“I have Sookie’s phone and she’s in the directory.”

“Very well.”

Eric stopped the discussion for a moment.  “Just to be clear.  Stan does Liz REALLY want Pam’s help, or is this just strategic?  I say this because Pam is relentless on details and vendors.  Anyone who screws up plans will be roasted by Pam.  Not Liz, but the caterer, the hall – those folks.”

“Liz knows this from Sookie and is prepared to hand over the reins and enjoy her days before the pledging.”  Pam beamed at this news.

Eric shook his head at Pam’s face.  “I hope you know, you just made Pam’s year.”

Benito started next, “I will plan to arrive . . .”

The meeting was stopped by a loud POP and the resulting commotion.  After a few stunned seconds, Eric informed the group, “Niall Brigant just arrived.”  Focusing on the ancient fairy Eric offered, “Welcome Niall.  Are you aware of the meeting that’s happening now?”

“Yes, your Grandsire told me to pop in at this time.  At least the old biddy told me plainly instead of giving me a riddle about it.”  A few gasps could be heard on the line as the realization of what Niall just said sunk in.

Godric put a stop to the murmurs.  “You’ve all just realized that my maker is the Ancient Pythoness.  This is not an item that should be shared or discussed at this time.”  The voices on the phone lines quieted and he proposed, “Let’s move on.  Niall, are you planning to join our fight?”

“Yes.  I’m working to recruit members of the fae royal guard who will move to this realm for the fight.  I’ll be the liaison; we won’t have them on earth until the actual time of the fight.  They will enter using the portal on the Stackhouse property and teleport to the required locations.”

“Can they teleport with vampires or Weres?”

“You mean, use them as the mode of transportation?”  When Eric nodded to confirm his question, Niall replied.  “Yes, each Fae will likely be able to teleport between 3 and 6 other bodies.  You do realize we can only transport to outside the palace walls?”

“Yes, I’m aware of the teleport limitations.  Will they be tempting to the vampires?”

“No, they will suppress their scent, unless we choose to use that as a tactical move.  The Fae I’m recruiting are all ancient and can lower and raise their scent shield at will.”

“Eric, can we back up for a moment?”  Russell asked.

“Sure Russell, what do we need to cover?”

“Sookie is a fairy?”

Niall answered.  “A fairy, no.  She’s a fairy PRINCESS; she’s my great granddaughter.”  Instead of the whispering like they heard before from the news of Godric’s maker, this time the line was dead silent.

Finally, Russell offered, “Eric, you are one lucky fucker.”

“She’s only part fairy and I loved her before I knew any of this.”

Niall slapped Eric on the back in a joking manner and said, “I know, which is the why I allowed the bonding.”

Eric got in his own dig.  “Besides Russell, everyone knows that fairies are a pain in the ass.  Can you imagine them as in-laws?”

When the laughter stopped, they returned back to the planning.  Eric introduced Sam, who had only been listening in to this point, and gave him the floor to share the offers from Bon Temps.  “Well, like I told Eric and Alcide earlier, the townsfolk met last night.  Locally, we have donors coming to the farmhouse for the vampires that are pretty much stuck here; three are arriving within the hour.  We agreed to make them appear to be glamoured as they walk into the house.  That should keep the suspicions down.”  A few comments on the phone indicated that the attendees agreed with the plan.

Sam continued.  “Some folks have volunteered to head to Vegas for whatever purpose.  Several nearly begging to go so they could try to be close enough to Sookie to send her messages.  Lastly. . . “

“Hold on.”  Benito stopped Sam’s message.  “You have humans willing to go to Vegas to do what?  Pretend to be fangbangers?  Drive around outside the palace?  Just stay in the Casino?  All for a chance to be near Sookie?”

Sam sat up a bit straighter, feeling pride for the town he called home.  “Yes sir, we do.   They’re willing to volunteer for any of the items you mentioned.”

“I’m funding all their expenses including lost wages.  That’s just incredible.”

Eric nodded in confirmation.  “It is incredible.  I was stunned when Sam came with the offer earlier.  Don’t worry about the funding, Benito.  I have that covered.”

“No, I insist.  I’m not surprised often and tonight I’m damn near floored.  It would be an honor to thank the townsfolk who are risking themselves for Sookie.  Someone I consider a friend.”

“Very well.  Sam has one more item to add though.  Sam?”

“We have a few ex-military in town.  They want in on the fight.”

“Humans are too fragile.  I don’t think that would be best.”  Russell shared.

Sam offered.  “I thought about that too.  Thing is, they can throw colloidal silver grenades and silver nets without weakening themselves.  They can load silver bullets and other silver ammo into weapons.”

“Powder monkeys.”

“Exactly Godric.  And each of these guys would know what that job means, and do it well.”

Still reeling from the offer, Godric firmly stated, “I think Sam is right.  We’re missing some excellent resources if we ignore this offer.  How many men are we talking about?”

“About a dozen.  Several are on the police force and are still very much in practice.”

“I have other good news.”  Alcide chimed in.  “Using my architectural connections, I believe I have a way to get the blue prints to his palace and casino.”

Shaking his head in confusion, Eric replied.  “I don’t see the benefit.  Those are pretty public.”

“Not the ones I can get.  Wouldn’t you like to know about the false walls, hidden rooms and tunnels?”

Eric brightened right away.  “How much?”

“I’ll know shortly.”

“Excellent.”

Feeling really hopeful for the first time since Sookie left, Eric grinned.  “Let’s start planning weapons and other strategies.”

An hour later, they had weapon plans, a skills inventory (by resource and if applicable, vampire age) and a timeline.  Planning meetings would be held at the Sheriff’s Ball and Stan and Liz’s pledging, the actual takeover date would be determined after assessing Felipe’s schedule at the pledging.  That meant later September and Eric could hardly stand to think about being apart for that long, but he kept his emotions under control for the meeting.  After Niall had confirmed he needed the time to gather the army – since time worked differently in his realm, he couldn’t argue for an earlier date.  At this point, they needed the teleporting abilities from the fae.  He had heard bits of information about time working differently in Fae, but he didn’t know enough to challenge Niall.

The meeting broke up and while others wanted to hear any news from Vegas via Stan’s spy, they respected Eric’s need for privacy.  “Godric, please stay on the line.”

“Of course min son.”

Now alone in his office he prompted, “Go ahead Stan.  What news do you have?”

Stan had debated considerable, even consulting with Liz, about sharing Sookie’s trials with Eric.  It was going to upset him greatly and very much prove that The Ancient Pythoness was out of touch if she thought hurt only came from being bitten or physically hit in some way.  He shared his thought process with Eric.  “I struggled with whether or not to tell you about the happenings in Vegas, but after all my thinking; I realized that I would want to know.”

“It’s not good, is it?”

“No.”

“Who is your spy?  Can they get word to Sookie?”

“My spy is a daemon that works for Quinn at Extreme(ly Elegant) Events.  She can’t hear them, correct?”

“No.  Tell me what’s been happening.”

“My spy hasn’t been in court, but after she overheard something Quinn was saying, she reached out to him.  He’s eager for a meeting.  Quinn’s been helping her in little ways, and wants to help you free her.”

“How can we trust the information from Quinn?”

“My spy is confident of his motives after. . . Quinn shared what he heard Felipe and another vampire talking.  They plan to breed Sookie.”

“We discussed this last night.”

“There’s more than what we discussed.  They want Dr. Finard to impregnate her when many eggs have dropped to produce as many babies as they can.  Then they plan to have her back again . . .”

“There’s no precedent for keeping an asset that’s a pet for that long!”

“They know that, but they believe she will ask to remain since Felipe plans to keep the children and experiment with them and their telepathy.”

“Experiment?  Why would he believe she would stay while we are bonded.  He can’t keep bondeds away from each other that long and he would have no right to Sookie’s children, her children were covered in her contracts.  I’ll call a trial at the next Summit.”

Stan sighed.  He was sickened by the information and vowed to get Sookie out of there.  He realized he would help anyone get out of the situation.  “He believes the asset contract does NOT include children and I know Desmond has not informed him of anything different.  He wasn’t directly asked to review the details.”  Stan paused before continuing.  “The experiments include breeding the children together, even when knowing of the mental retardation risks.  He also wants to turn some, and just let some grow up.  To him, waiting 15 years means nothing.”  Bracing himself to deliver the worst, he took an unneeded breath and literally gripped his own desk.  “He’s trying to find a way to break the bond so Sookie would choose to stay with the children.”  The words had barely left Stan’s mouth before Eric started growling and cursing through the phone.  Eric’s reaction was just as Stan expected, and he didn’t blame him.  Stan was bonded to Liz, and like Eric, he believed bonds were an ancient and sacred rite at the core of the vampire culture.  To desecrate a bond belied their very nature.  There were several other items, but Stan decided they could wait until the next night.

Eric calmed after a few minutes and resumed the meeting with Stan long enough to thank him for the information and make plans for their next call.  Looking at the newly repaired office, Eric sat quietly for a few minutes while he felt Godric sending him waves of calm.  He vowed not to lose it again while Sookie was away and he needed to work very hard to keep that promise to himself.

“Min son, I feel your anger and fear starting to abate.  You are doing well.”

“It’s not easy.”

“Save the anger for Vegas.”

“You got that right.  I’m better now.  I need to get back to the farmhouse.”

When he returned to the farmhouse, he was met in the kitchen by Hunter first and his presence immediately calmed him.  As though Hunter knew he needed it, when Eric picked him up, they stayed hugging like that while Hunter patted his uncle’s back until he was ready to meet the donors.  They moved together into the living room where several donors from Bon Temps were waiting.  Amelia and Sam had coordinated to get them entry onto the property through the ward, and they arrived with Indira giving the appearance of glamour as planned.  Eric remembered the three guests from Independence Day.  “Welcome Hoyt, Holly, Catfish.”  They all nervously responded with ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’.

“Holly, Cody is doing well?”

“Yes, and my ex-husband and his wife are in jail awaiting trial, so he’s not a threat any longer.”  She was speaking to Eric but her glance kept moving to his arm, outstretched to his side, with Hunters hands looped over the top:  He was swinging the boy back and forth while they talked.

Trying to make the guests as welcome as possible, he continued with the familiar topic of conversation.  “She had children as well; any news of them?”

“Her sister took them in.  I would’ve hated to hear anything else.  Thank you for asking.”  She was quiet for a moment and finally offered.  “If you don’t mind me saying. . . You’re just not what you think of when you think of vampires.  You’re so much more.  I remember the trouble with Hallow and how you and Sookie ensured nobody was hurt that was there by force.  Or, just the fact that you’re chatting about my son goes against all I thought about vampires.  Hell, the biggest surprise is that you’re standing there talking to me while Hunter swings on your arm.”

“He makes the best jungle gym!”  Hunter yelled with enthusiasm.

“Don’t let all that get around.  I have a reputation to uphold.”

“Oh, well then you’re big and scary and barked out tons of orders while we were here.”

“Exactly.”  The group shared a chuckle before Eric turned back to the task at hand.  “It’s getting late for you.  We should move onto our business so you can get home.”

Hoyt responded for the group, “Sure Eric.  It is late for us day walkers.”

“We really appreciate your volunteering.  As you can see,” He looked down to Pam on the couch where Alcide had deposited her.  “Pam is quite ill and in need of blood.  We have two vampires on patrol who also do not leave the property.  We really need your help.”

Hunter chimed in.  “Uncle Eric, you need to heal too.”  He left Eric’s arms and walked over to Hoyt, “Mr. Hoyt, you’ll help him, right?”

“Sure Hunter.  Holly will feed Pam and Catfish; you’ll take care of Indira?”

“Yeah, that’ll work.”  Catfish responded while Holly just nodded.

Eric turned to Arthmael.  “You’ll be OK until tomorrow night?”  The former enforcer simply nodded.  He was older and didn’t need to feed every night.  He surmised that if Eric offered Indira the blood, she needed it and he would not interfere out of selfishness just to ‘pull rank’ due to his age.

Jason stepped into the room.  “I fed Indira already tonight.”

“Jason, I didn’t know you were serving as a donor.”

“Michelle and I talked; we’re just trying to help where we can.”

Eric nodded in thanks before altering the feeding plans.  “I guess Arthmael will pair with Catfish.”  Hunter knowing about feeding and seeing it were two different things, so he asked Jason for some help.  “Jason, can you and Hunter pack his clothes from upstairs and move them to Sookie’s room while we take care of business here?”

“Sure ‘nuff Eric.”

“Thank you.”  He turned to Hoyt as the coordinator of the donors.  “Starting next evening, we’ll go up the hill for feeding.  We have the kids here. . .”

“Say no more.  We’ll just be sure to head up there straight away.  If anyone is visiting, they’ll stop here on the way out.”

“Perfect.”

After feeding, Hoyt and Eric spoke privately in the kitchen.  Since Hoyt was going to coordinate the donors going forward he had some questions.  “How many do you need each night?  I have a list of volunteers and Holly and I can create a schedule and Indira or Thalia – I think that’s her name – can pick them up each night.”

“At least two if you can swing it, but we can feed some nights up to five.  Do you have enough to rotate folks?”

“Yeah, I have twenty that volunteered.”

“TWENTY?”

“Yeah.  It was a proud moment for the town as the meeting went on.  Do you know if you want to send anyone to Vegas?”

“We discussed that on a planning call earlier.  Anyone that goes must be aware of the risk.”

“We don’t have as many volunteers for that, but the ones that volunteered know the risk.”

“We have commitment that all expenses will be paid including lost wages.”

“That’s not necessary, I’m sure I speak for the enti. . . “

“It’s not worth debating.  You are aware of the vampire power structure?”

“I am.  Sam felt that he should fill some of us in.  It wasn’t discussed with the general group at the meeting, just a few of us selected by Sam.”

“I agree and trust Sam’s judgment.  Anyway, The King of California has committed to the funds.  I tried to tell him I would handle it myself, but he feels he owes it to Sookie.  He’s quite fond of her and can certainly afford it.”  In his head, Eric vowed that anyone involved in helping them would be well rewarded whether they wanted it or not.

“It’s hard not to be fond of Sookie.”

“Then why did so many in the town treat her so poorly?  I’ve heard you, Lala, Tara and her brother were always good to her, but not others.”

“It was fear I’m sure.  Honestly now most of them are ashamed of their behavior.”  Eric nodded.  Hesitating to bring up Sookie further, but needing to know, Hoyt asked the burning question.  “She’s doing OK, right?  You can feel her right, she’s well?”

Hunter had sought out Eric after Jason checked that they were all done feeding and immediately took Eric’s hand for comfort while hearing about his Aunt Sookie.  With a glance towards the boy he picked him up and answered.  “She’s upset and sometimes angry, but physically she is doing fine.  She’s not being treated nicely at all, so anyone who goes to Vegas and possibly sees her needs to be aware and trained on how to act.”

“Understood.  When do you want us?”

“Us, so you’re one of the volunteers?”

“I grew up with her.  She’s like a little sister to me.”

They continued to talk as they headed towards the living room.  “I’ll meet with all of you on Friday, can you come for dinner?”

“Sure.  I love Gran’s cooking.”

“Oh, as a thank you, I’ll cook for you.”

Hunter clapped at that while Hoyt looked horrified at that thought and said, “Should I eat first so I’m not starving.”  Holly gasped at his rudeness and slapped his arm.

“I think you should trust me.”

“I guess since I’m going into the proverbial lion’s den, I can survive something you cook.  Well, Catfish and I have work early tomorrow, I’ll see you Friday night.”

“I’m sorry we were so late.  We’ll do the donor thing earlier starting tomorrow.”

“Eh, Catfish is the boss, we’ll go in late.”

“Well, thank you again.

“Yeah,” Hunter called, “Thank you.”  They smiled at the boy’s enthusiasm.

When the donors walked out, Eric turned his attention to Hunter.  “Ok Little Dude.  What time did Daddy say you needed to go to sleep?”

“Last night I was up ‘til about midnight, which is about now.  Tonight he said I can go ‘til 1AM.”

Detecting no deceit from his little friend, Eric agreed.  “Do you need a snack?”

“Yeah, ice cream?”

“Let me rephrase.  A HEALTHY snack.”

He blew a raspberry at Eric before trying again.  “An apple with peanut butter?”

“Let’s get that taken care of.  Pam, do you need anything before we head to the kitchen?”

“No, I have my new fashion scrapbook from Gran.”

“Fashion Scrapbook?  What the hell is that?”

Hunter explained.  “Gran had Mustapha go through Pam’s closet and take photos of all her clothing, shoes and accessories.  She’s been slowly creating a scrapbook for her, but the pictures are placed into sleeves that she can move them around and make up different outfits.  I’ve been helping Gran with putting the pictures into the sleeves.  We’ve only gotten about 1/3rd done according to Gran.”

“Pam, I do believe I’ll just turn your spoiling over to Gran.”

“Fine by me, as long as she gets your credit card.”

An hour later, Hunter was washed up and ready for bed.  “You still gonna get in bed with me later on Eric?”

“If you’re OK with that arrangement; Amelia can stay with Pam that way.”

“I think I’d like that.  You won’t pee the bed will you?”

He bellowed at the question.  “I can guarantee that won’t happen.  Are you going to drool on me?”

“No sir!”

“Very good then.  Should we read more of your story?”

“Can you just tell me one of your stories?”  That typically meant Sookie’s little man was especially tired.  He would speak to Remy tomorrow about his sudden change of heart in Hunter’s sleep time.  There was no doubt he enjoyed the extra time with Hunter but he didn’t want him to be over tired as a result.

“Sure.  I’ll tell you about the time Godric and I went to Africa.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

Hunter was asleep before Eric got 5 minutes into the story.  He chose to stay in bed just working on emails for Norse Enterprises.  Staying close to Hunter soothed him in a way he couldn’t describe.  Sookie’s emotions had been erratic throughout the night so he continued to send her calm.  After about an hour of indulging himself with Hunter’s presence, he returned to the living room.  Pam was lounging and enjoying her scrapbook alone.  “I have some Sheriff work to do.  Do you want me to go to the new house so I don’t disturb you?”

“Are there calls I can make?”

“You need to rest.”

“As do you.”

“We’ll split the calls.”  Eric agreed, but decided to keep the more difficult items on his half of the list.  They were done quickly and he was moving Pam to the bathtub in just under 2 hours.  “Amelia, call me when you’re done and I’ll carry her downstairs.”

“I won’t take long.  It’s sadly just a bath.”  She pouted a bit and Eric was certain she meant there would be no sex involved.

“Amelia, I’ll remind you that we have Hunter in the house.  You’ve got control your thoughts.  Per Sookie, I understand that you are a screamer – your thoughts come through loud and clear.  I am pleased that Pam has someone to care for her, but we must be sure we aren’t hurting Hunter.”

“I understand.  I actually try to stay away as much as I can.  It’s only the past few days where he’s been up so late.”

“Thank you for trying.”

He returned to his laptop and phone to finish some of the harder calls that he’d kept to himself.  Many had left messages over the past few days after hearing from other vampires in the state.  Rumors were spreading about increases in fealty payments, revisions to contracts, and new reporting on when and how other supes were employed.  They wanted to know what it meant.  After trying to calm several vampires over the phone, he decided to call a meeting for Sunday night at Fangtasia – attendance would be mandatory.  This way he could just refer any further calls on the rumors to the meeting and be done with it for the moment.  With the weekend coming, he needed to wait until Sunday as he couldn’t close Fangtasia on a Friday or Saturday.  As it was Thursday this would give him time to prepare.  He’d noted every concern, rumor and complaint as he wanted to hold the meeting ready to address their questions.  Thalia would be his greatest resource at the meeting:  She could help maintain order.  Arthmael would stay at the farmhouse to guard the family as his presence was still a secret – and Eric intended to keep it that way.

He sent an encrypted email to his allies updating them on the donor situation and asking Stan if he could somehow get an update via his spy and Quinn.  He got confirmation back right away and this pleased Eric.  Hearing about the volunteers in town would boost Sookie’s spirits.

Amelia called for Eric to help her with Pam and when she was settled he got himself into bed with Hunter.  It was still about 2 hours before he would feel the pull to rest, but he had no further tasks, no desire to read, and in general a lack of energy.  He decided to just go into downtime and wait for the pull.  Unconsciously, he rubbed Hunter’s back in an attempt to leave the problems of the night behind him.  At one point, he felt deep sadness, shock and embarrassment from Sookie.  It startled him from downtime, but passed after he sent her love and he resumed his position and tried to find some peace.

(Reading excerpt from:  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)

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10 thoughts on “Chapter 57 – Allies and Neighbors

  1. Love that all the people in Bon Temps want to help Sookie so much! Can’t wait to see if some spies from town get a message through to Sookie from Eric! Great chapter!

  2. Even Bon Temps residents are helping…woo hoo. I’m glad you mentioned about Eric sensing Sookie through the bond (I assume when her head was shaved)…I wondered if he could sense her fear, etc. At least he is able to send her love for comfort.

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